25

The modulation you describe is often mockingly called the "Truck Driver Gear Change". As you say, it is quite often used, to the point of being cliche. It has it's own page on TVTropes. At one time, there was even a "Hall of Shame" website (gearchange.org) devoted to it, although this seems to have disappeared. Here's a copy of the page from 2012 via the ...


23

In principle, the answer is yes, with software instruments it is feasible to (re-)set the tuning so that you can realize music with modulation that stays in just intonation across these changes. The frequencies are directly accessible in sound synthesis environments like PureData or Overtone, and even just by setting the tuning information in a set of MIDI ...


20

Any readers may thank you more if the new key becomes Ab. Ab has only 4 flats in it, whereas G# has 8 sharps. The simplest, which always works, pretty well whichever key you're changing into, is to use the dominant of the new key for a bar. Thus Eb or Eb7 will do the trick. I've done it hundreds of times with choirs and bands and soloists - some of whom ...


16

You cannot even realize "just temperament" reliably when you are working with continuous-tone instruments like singers and trombones. Take a look at even something as old as J.S. Bach's mass in B minor, like the "Confiteor" which goes off-tonality somewhere after 2:30 (in this recording) and loses tonal center rather thoroughly between 3:00 and 4:00. The ...


16

You're exactly right! It's technically a motion to ♭VI, which would be F♭ major. But in order to make it easier to read, he spells it in E major (♯V). F♭ isn't in A♭ major, but it is in A♭ minor; thus this is an example of mode mixture. The modulation is created by the common tone between the original A♭ tonic and the new E tonic. A♭ becomes the chordal ...


15

This is just an expansion of BlakeTM's answer, included because StackExchange communities typically discourage answering a question (or in this case, a comment) by referring to a link and nothing more. Links sometimes die and we hope for the answers here to live on. That being said, Leinberger lists the following types of modulation: Diatonic Common Chord:...


14

What you seek is called Modulation. The II-V-I your jazz friend told you about is pretty easy. It's really common in jazz. First you need to establish that you are in E minor, so you'll need to play something like II - V - I in E minor and then II - V - I in A minor. That's that. As you can see here for the song Nostalgia in Times Square by Charles Mingus. ...


13

Great question; this is a particularly clever part of music theory! Here's a nice little example in F major; it's just a I--V7--I progression with a little cadential six-four thrown in there just because. Meanwhile, this next example is in E minor, and it's a little bit different. It actually starts with what we call a German augmented sixth, which then ...


12

It's a bit more complicated than may appear at first glance. Within a single key, if Just Intonation makes the I,IV, and V chords all (4,5,6) ratios, the ii chord will be off. The other question is what note to play as a melody note. Often, melodies are somewhat independent of the underlying chords (at least in CPP if not in Jazz and other Pop theories). I ...


12

(Parts of this answer were posted before the OP edited the question to exclude some of it - in particular, e.g. to move up half step and Don't discuss other music such as jazz. were added after this answer was posted.) Has pop music ever modulated at all?! Your terminology is rather imprecise: You seem to be drawing a hard line between Bach/Classical ...


12

Closely related keys are keys with key signatures within one accidental of each other. Find the number of accidentals in the given key signature, then find the keys that have that same number (and type) of accidentals, one less, and one more. For instance, C minor has three flats in its key signature. The closely related keys to C minor will be: E♭ major (...


11

What you mean is not a change of scale, but rather a change of key. A change of key is called a modulation. Modulation is usually established by a full cadence into the new key. If a piece in G major modulates to D major, then you'd expect to see a progression of D | G | A | D which would be I IV V I in the new key of D major. Sometimes you won't find ...


11

I think your intuition is mostly correct when it comes to modulation. I would make only one small adjustment: most scholarship tends to view a change in tonic as different from a change in mode. In other words, moving from C to G is a modulation because we change the tonic pitch, but moving from C major to C minor is "just" a change in mode. Thus we see that ...


10

a) What keys can I change to from a given key? In the 21st century, it doesn't matter so much where you go, but how you get there and whether or not you want to nod to classical tradition or ignore it. I'll outline a couple of examples, but rather than make giant lists, I'll say that the key that you aim for should be musically appropriate for the song. ...


10

The song could be on G# major; It would be easier to say it's in Ab major scale. These two are the same scale and they are called Enharmonic scales. (I'm using Ab because it is more common and easier to understand). Here is how: Ab (G#) -> 1st chord of your scale. Ebm (D#m) -> 4th of the minor scale with the same name (Ab or G# minor) -- you are allowed to ...


10

"just intonation better than equal temperament" Judgement call there. When instruments are slightly off perfect ratios, there can be very appealing beating and chorus effects. Piano strings are intentionally mistuned from each other by slight amounts. Nothing but perfect ratios can sometimes lead to a very thin sound. Depends on context. "instruments which ...


10

Within a minimalist sort of setting, one approach I might take would be to boil things down to just the root or root and fifth. If you have a long enough period of time where you don't have a third in the mix, your ear won't be glued to a given tonality and introducing the minor flavor into the mix shouldn't sound as abrupt. You can also start adding in ...


10

Closely related keys are keys that have at most one accidental difference. So the set of notes inside the key are almost identical (or identical in the case of relative major/minor keys). You can get to any key from any other key, but some key require less perpetration and have easily ways to convincingly transition. Parallel major/minor keys are some of ...


9

There really isn't a set of rules a composer/songwriter is bound by. Modulation has a certain effect like anything else at times may be desired and at others may be undesired. It is up to the composer/songwriter to decide if it will improve the song itself or not. The are many reasons why or why not to use and effect or technique and modulation is no ...


9

A very traditional way would be to pivot from a Neapolitan sixth chord (bII6) in your first key to V6 in your second key. For instance, in C major, you'd have a first inversion Db major (this is your Neapolitan) which becomes the dominant of Gb, and resolves to Gb, modulating a tritone. If this is too abrupt for you, you may want to smooth out this ...


9

Just jumping up the key up a semitone without a chord progression to lead into the modulation is a very common musical trope! Simply change the key signature in-between two major sections of a song, such as transitioning from a verse to the chorus - the already-present transition prevents the sudden modulation from sounding out of place or overly abrupt. ...


8

Although I already provided a lengthy answer for this question which got accepted, I've never quite been satisfied with how it addressed the origin of the technique. I merely quote a passage from a book that lists early examples of pop/rock songs (from the 50's) that use the technique without discussing its origin, then jump to similar but unrelated ...


8

All of these answers are correct, but I thought it would be helpful to the OP (and hopefully future readers) to give some clear examples. The above example is just a clear use of a German augmented sixth in C minor. The Ger+6 is on beat three of the first measure, and it proceeds to a V on beat 4 and then to tonic in the next measure. (For the sake of ...


8

The issue here is to define "closely related" and "easy to get to". Here is my take on those phrases: Closely related: Two keys are closely related when they share similar key signatures. For example, compared to C major: A minor has the same key signature (no sharps/flats) F major has only one extra flat G major has only one extra sharp Easy to get to: ...


8

Well, "easy to get to" isn't exactly a very precise term musically. For a good example, note that from A major, B♭ major is almost as unrelated as it gets. However, lots of songs will just shift up a half-step to get to B♭ major. I suppose the answer is that ultimately, "easy to get to" is completely independent of "related". How related a key is is a good ...


7

There are 9 types: Diatonic Common Chord Altered Common Chord Enharmonic Modulation using Mm7 Chord Deceptive Cadence Enharmonic Modulation using °7 Chord Diminished7 -> Major-minor7 Chromatic Mediant Common Tone Modulation Direct Modulation Source: Modulation Types for Musical Analysis, by Charles Francis Leinberger, Ph.D.


7

There's lots of ways to do it! No single way is necessarily the right way. Your progression certainly works, and you're right that preceding the Am chord with its dominant (either an E or an E7) is the best way to strengthen the effect of Am being the new home key. You can actually follow the E (or E7) chord with either an A minor (A, C, E) or an A major (A, ...


7

Hippie answer: You can do whatever you want. Constructive answer: Yes, this is a good way to modulate up a half step.


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible